If you are not sleeping well at night, you are suffering. Many research studies have been conducted concerning those who lack the necessary eight hours of sleep each night.
Those studies show reduced attention spans, poorer concentration, and a number of other consequences associated with sleeping less than eight hours each night.
For children who aren’t sleeping well, the effects can carry over into school and grades, as well as destructive behaviors. People who are overweight or obese have even more problems when they’re not getting the proper amount of rest.
There are so many reasons that you might not be getting the recommended amount of sleep at night. Some people report back pain to be a common complaint that prevents them from sleeping well.
For others, work overloads and other duties interfere with that decadent period of rest. Even still others are sleeping on a bed or mattress that is worn out.
All of these things can certainly have an impact on your sleep, and the quality of that sleep. But sometimes, the problem is far from being as simple as these issues. Sometimes it is a medical problem that is causing your lack of sleep. The problem is, you might not even realize it is a problem.
Medical Problems Affecting your Sleep
As mentioned, a number of different health problems could be impacting your sleep habits. Yes, back pain can cause you to get less sleep that you need, however, it is actually the underlying problem that causes the most concern.
Issues such as being overweight, the common cold, and even depression and anxiety can cause an individual to have concern. But there is one condition that is responsible for more problems with sleep than any other, and it is a condition known as obstructive sleep apnea.
Around 23% of the US population is affected by obstructive sleep apnea. Sadly, many of those patients do not even realize they are affected.
They are experiencing all of the side effects of sleep apnea, yet ignoring them or attributing them to other problems. There are certainly a number of symptoms brought on by sleep apnea that resemble other concerns.
What is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?
Obstructive Sleep Apnea is a condition that can affect children as well as adults.It can affect men and women as well as boys and girls. It is characterized by a breathing pattern that stops during periods of rest.
Most people with the condition experience these episodes of irregular breathing at least five times per hour as they sleep. The problem is very serious, but most patients are unaware that it is even existent until a partner or child tells them.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea Symptoms
Many Obstructive Sleep Apnea symptoms are present in individuals that are affected with the condition. By taking heed and note of these symptoms you can get the needed treatment quickly and begin to make improvements to get your sleep back on track.
If you, or your partner, notice any of the symptoms below, it is important to consult with your doctor as soon as possible.
The doctor can make a referral to a specialist if need be, where a test for sleep apnea can be performed overnight inside of the hospital. Symptoms of sleep apnea that you should look for include:
- Tossing and turning during sleep
- Periods of not breathing
- Loud, excessive snoring
- Choking at night
- Leg swelling
- Waking up feeling tired or unrested
- Getting up at night to go to the bathroom
- Headaches in the early morning or late at night before bed
- Problems with memory and concentration
Children can experience the symptoms above, but may also experience symptoms such as wetting the bed, slow growth, poor grades in school, trouble concentrating during the day and a shorter attention span. In rare cases, developmental delays can also result in relation to obstructive sleep apnea.
What to do About your Symptoms
Some of the symptoms listed above are things that you will notice each day. Others are things that those closest to you will notice and probably mention to you.
The first step is to recognize that there is something wrong, and then to get help from a medical doctor as soon as possible.
The doctor can evaluate your symptoms, and, if necessary, make a referral to a specialist who has the in-depth knowledge to help you.
The specialist will perform a test inside of a hospital overnight. This test will evaluate your sleep patterns, and whether or not you are suffering with this condition.
Prevention & Treatment
There are a number of things that an individual can do to help prevent obstructive sleep apnea. Of course prevention is ideal. Some of the things that you can do to deter obstructive sleep apnea from your life:
- Don’t take a sleeping pill before bed.
- Avoid drinking alcohol at night and before bed.
- Exercise on a regular basis. Even if you do not want to lose weight, exercise keeps your body active and your heart pumping.
- Eat sensibly. Your diet should include an array of fresh fruits and vegetables. The more colorful your plate, the better it is for you. In addition to eating the right foods, make sure that you are also eating the right portions of foods.
- If you are a smoker, stop as soon as possible. We all know the many dangers of smoking. Sleep apnea is one of those, as smoking relaxes the airway muscles.
For most people it is the removal of the tonsil and adenoids that provides the most success against obstructive sleep apnea.
The doctor will determine the appropriate line of treatment once hospital testing has been conducted and an API index score has been given. Scores that are 5 or better require immediate attention and treatment.
The prevention methods listed above should also be initiated in the treatment of sleep apnea. Those who are healthy, exercise and eat right are far less likely to be afflicted with the condition.